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The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Council on Archives (ICA), the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) share a common mission of collecting, recording, organising, storing, preserving in perpetuity, and providing access to the world’s cultural patrimony and intellectual output in documentary form.

Together they support and follow the long-term vision as formulated by the CDNL (Conference of Directors of National Libraries) in 2008, on the development of a global distributed digital collection –  comprehensive, open, seamlessly-connected, and universally accessible on the Internet – giving ready access to digital materials in the collections of all the cultural heritage institutions of the world and in private collections, in the interests of scholarly research, education and lifelong learning, innovation and economic development, and the promotion of international understanding; in this way complying with the wish to strengthen the strategic collaboration with other stakeholders such as cultural heritage professionals, cultural heritage institutions, scientific institutions, national and international government organisations, other NGOs, publishers and information providers, and other private sector organisations.

A shared vision for global digital heritage

To this end IFLA, ICA, CCAAA, ICOM, ICOMOS and ICSTI adopt the CDNL recommendations and will promote these recommendations through its international constituency:

Notwithstanding the fact that cultural heritage institutions operate in different environments, the above institutions encourage cultural heritage professionals in heritage institutions and/or with private collections to:

  1. promote, encourage, and support the development of collaborative digital collections of all types;
  2. promote and support the connecting of the digital collections of national cultural heritage institutions, and in cross sectoral dialogue with one another, to provide a window to the cultures of the world and to open up their rich and diverse holdings;
  3. support cultural and linguistic diversity and multilingualism, and also respect indigenous cultures and cultural property;
  4. promote the development of digital tools, products and services and common standards through standard setting organisations within their own organisations and through the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), and with a particular focus on critical issues such as long-term digital preservation, authenticity, and understanding the needs of our users;
  5. ensure that learning on digital collection developments and best practice are shared between cultural heritage professionals, whether in cultural heritage institutions or working with private collections, at a cross sectoral level;
  6. increase digital capability and support digital developments by cultural heritage professionals, whether in cultural heritage institutions or working with private collections in the developing world;
  7. work for widespread appreciation of the importance of intellectual property issues in the digital age;
  8. advocate for solutions to intellectual property issues which strike the appropriate balance between the crucial public interest in ensuring access to information and ideas and also the rights of creators to be recognised and rewarded for their work;
  9. advocate for the development of the global digital collections and for regulatory support (particularly through legal deposit and intellectual property regimes) and financial support for digital developments;
  10. strengthen the strategic collaboration of cultural heritage professionals, through their cultural heritage institutions or through their private collections, with national and international government organisations, publishers, information providers, and other private sector organisations.

Long-term access to cultural heritage


  • Facilitate discussion and promote understanding of and cooperation on matters of common interest to the international cultural heritage sector in the areas of copyright, cultural heritage protection and recovery, effective advocacy and lobbying at international level, and long term preservation of and access to its institutions cultural heritage.
  • Support the promotion, facilitation and advocating for long-term access to the cultural heritage, in all formats, preserved by cultural heritage professionals, whether in private collections, or in the cultural heritage institutions of the world.
  • Are committed to cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • Promote mutual understanding as well as the sharing of best practices, mutual support and professional networking.
  • Seek to facilitate the cross sectoral collaboration of cultural heritage institutions and cultural heritage professionals, and the integration of access to collections for the benefit of the global community.